Overview

On occasions there is no provision of the Copyright Act that permits your intended use of someone else’s copyright material. Seeking written permission from a copyright owner can often bring about quick and positive results, although much depends on the nature of the content.

Owners of commercial content, who make a living out of their copyright property, are much less likely to grant permission than owners of non-commercial content.

Email or other written confirmation of permission should be safely stored and treated as a significant UQ document.

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Typical situations

  • you want to provide your students with more than the permissible limit from a single copyright source;
  • you have an old, commercially produced analogue recording of some teaching material that you now wish to digitise;
  • you want to use someone else’s photograph in a published work, or make it available on a publicly-accessible UQ website.

Seeking permission

  • it should always be requested and received in writing. Email is sufficient, although a copy of any email granting permission should be printed out and safely stored. It is a significant University record.
  • make sure you identify the true copyright owner – e.g. in the case of a book, it’s likely to be the publisher and not the author.
  • identify who you are, the relevant work, the amount being requested and the intended use and audience, and the duration of use. The rule of thumb should be, give more information to the person who you are contacting, rather than less. Don’t give them extra reasons to say ‘no’.
  • emphasise, where it is the case, that the work is being used for educational, non-commercial purposes – this can be persuasive for an otherwise ambivalent copyright owner.
  • if your proposed use is commercial – e.g. inclusion in a commercial publication – then you must make this clear to the copyright owner. It’s quite possible that a positive response will be accompanied by a request for payment.

Sample permission request 1

 

Dear __________

 

Re: Request for Permission to Reformat Audiotapes

 

I am a senior lecturer in the School of __________ at The University of Queensland and have for a number of years played audio language tapes to my students during classes. These tapes were offered for sale by you some years ago, but now appear to be unavailable.

I am seeking your permission to re-format three tapes, the details of which are set out below, by converting them from analogue cassette tape to CD format. If permission is granted, the new CD formats will properly identify the publisher and content details that appear on the cassette tapes.

The University is a public, non-profit educational institution and commercial use will not be made of any of the copyright works.

If this request is acceptable, I am happy to receive your permission by email.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this request and please do not hesitate to contact me with any matters that you may wish to raise.

Details of audio tapes:

a.Russian for Beginners, Living Language Publishers, London, 1980.

b.Intermediate Russian, Living Language Publishers, London, 1980.

c.Advanced Russian, Living Language Publishers, London, 1982.

Best regards

[Your details here]

Sample permission request 2

Dear __________

 

Re: Request for Permission to Publish Photographs

 

I am a senior lecturer in the School of __________ at The University of Queensland and am currently writing a book describing the political culture of Queensland in the 1970s.

I have seen a number of photographs on your personal web page – www.yourwebpage.com.au - that you took during this period and which relate to important events that I discuss in the book.

I am seeking your permission to reproduce a number of those images, the details of which are set out below, in the forthcoming book.

The book is due to be published by The University of Queensland Press in late-2008.

Of course, in the event that permission is granted, proper identification and acknowledgement of the images would be made.

The University is a public, non-profit educational institution and commercial use will not be made of any of the copyright works.

If this request is acceptable, I am happy to receive your permission by email.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this request and please do not hesitate to contact me with any matters that you may wish to raise.

Details and web location of images:

a.Policeman arresting demonstrator – www.yourwebpage.com.au/demoarrest.html

b.Demonstrators sitting in street – www.yourwebpage.com.au/demoarrest.html

Best regards

[Your details here]

Print version 

Permissions Quick Guide (PDF, 69KB)